Perception of Internal Factors for Corporate Entrepreneurship: A Comparison of Canadian and U.S. Managers

Article excerpt

The purpose of this study was to expand on the previous research conducted by Kuratko, Montagno, and Hornsby (1990) and Hornsby, Montagno, and Kuratko (1992), which was limited to two American samples. The main hypothesis is that, due to the cultural differences that exist between the U.S. and Canada, there will be differences in responses of U.S. and Canadian managers to factors perceived to be part of an organizational culture that fosters entrepreneurial behavior. The findings suggest the following: U.S. and Canadian managers perceive the workplace similarly in terms of entrepreneurial climate; levels of intrinsic satisfaction of Canadian managers are lower than in the U.S.; overall levels of entrepreneurial behaviors are similar between the U.S. and Canada; but for Americans, entrepreneurial behavior is significantly related to the existence of particular organizational factors.

Recently, there has been a growing interest in creating entrepreneurial cultures within corporations and institutions. The goal of creating these cultures is to enhance the innovative abilities of employees and, at the same time, increase organizational success through the creation of new corporate ventures.

The need to pursue corporate entrepreneurship has arisen from a variety of pressing problems including: technological changes, innovations, and improvements in the marketplace (Miller & Friesen, 1985); perceived weakness in the traditional methods of corporate management (Hayes & Abernathy, 1980); the loss of entrepreneurial-minded employees who are disenchanted with bureaucratic organizations (Kanter, 1985; Pinchott, 1985; Goddard, 1987); and growing levels of international competition (Kuratko & Hodgetts, 1998).

The pursuit of corporate entrepreneurship as a strategy to counter these problems, however, creates a newer and potentially more complex set of challenges on both a practical and a theoretical level. On a practical level, organizations need guidelines to direct or redirect resources towards establishing effective entrepreneurial strategies. On a theoretical level, researchers need to continually reassess the components or dimensions that explain and shape the environment in which corporate entrepreneurship flourishes.

While there have been a number of studies focusing on various factors that contribute to or enhance the establishment of an entrepreneurial culture, only a few studies have empirically tested the existence of the factors hypothesized. Two recent studies (Kuratko, Montagno, & Hornsby, 1990; Hornsby, Montagno, & Kuratko, 1992) have identified a factor structure that reflects what was defined by the authors as an "Intrapreneurial" or "Entrepreneurial Culture." As the world economy becomes more globalized it becomes more important to understand the entrepreneurial process at an international level. From the standpoint of the United States, interaction with Canada can create tremendous opportunities for both countries. Differences in management style and expectations can, however, pose a set of unanticipated problems.

With the concern of understanding innovation at an international level in mind, this study had several unique objectives. The first of these was to gain a better understanding of the entrepreneurship process, both at a theoretical and an applied level. In addressing this objective the research focused on specific facilitating conditions for entrepreneurship and the adequacy of the measuring instruments used.

The second objective was to examine the differences that may exist between the U.S. and Canada with respect to the process of fostering entrepreneurship within their domestic organizations. While many people view Canadian and U.S. business cultures as being quite similar, there is some suggestion in the literature that there are substantial differences.

ENTREPRENEURIAL LITERATURE REVIEW

Vesper (1984) developed three major definitions of corporate entrepreneurship which he identified as (1) new strategic direction; (2) initiative from below; and (3) autonomous business creation. …